The Girl on the TrainThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Honestly, I was kind of disappointed with this one. It wasn’t quite what I expected. Everyone has been comparing it to Gone Girl, and stacks of it were flying off of special promo tables in the bookstore where I got it, but it wasn’t quite there for me.

I think that the reason Gone Girl was such a success was that it was a great suspense/mystery novel, while still having AMAZING characters with rock-solid motivations. This book was a great mystery novel, with unexpected twists, but didn’t deliver on making me care about any of the characters. The most I identified with anyone was to cringe when the main character had another unintended drinking binge, recalling a morning or two when I may have woken up with my own regrets. There was some stuff in there that I think was intended to build her character, about being unable to conceive, but it seemed to be thrown in as an afterthought – it didn’t drive her as a character very much at all.

In addition to the failed background, I also wasn’t sold on the plot twist. it wasn’t as “a-ha!” as I’d have liked it to be. It makes you look back and reconsider, briefly, a small handful of incidents, but it could have gone so much farther. I would have liked a tiny bit more foreshadowing, and plenty more background before the actual reveal, pointing towards the moment being a true twist, and not just a wrench.

Everyone is trying to write the next Gone Girl. This book was a decent read, but doesn’t earn the comparison.

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